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2015 RC44 Championship tour dates announced

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: RC44 Class] The RC44 Class enters its ninth year with the announcement of two new venues for their 2015 Championship Tour.

A total of five venues next year will see the Class start in its first new location – Valletta, Malta in March ahead of touring some of the finest sailing venues in Europe. This includes a debut for  Porto Cervo, Italy as well as old favorites Marstrand, Sweden and Cascais, Portugal before heading back to the Caribbean to finish the season in the winter sun at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda.

2015 Championship Tour Schedule:

25 – 29 March  – RC44 Valletta Cup, Malta

17 – 21 June – Audi Porto Cervo Cup, Italy

28 July – 1 August – RC44 Marstrand Cup, Sweden

30 September – 4 October – RC44 Cascais World Championship, Portugal

25 – 29 November – RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, British Virgin Islands

 

RC44 Class founder Russell Coutts comments, “ It’s fantastic to be taking the Tour to two new venues in 2015. The competition in the class is at phenomenal level and having new teams like Charisma, Artemis Racing Youth and Bombarda Racing joining the fleet and attracting first class sailors such as Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge and Francesco de Angelis, is giving the leader board a shake up and allowing for any team to be on the podium for a regatta.”

Kicking off the season and making its debut on to the RC44 circuit is Malta’s renowned capital Valletta, City of the Knights. Built on a peninsula in one of the world’s largest and deepest natural harbours, this historic city on the East coast of Malta will offers the sailors a thrilling start to the season with prevailing westerly breeze of 11-15 knots and racing against the backdrop of the city’s magnificent fortress.

Peter Valentino, on behalf of host Yachting Event’s Ltd added, “It is a privilege to host the RC44 Class in Valletta, renowned for visiting some of the most beautiful and diverse sailing venues in the world.. We know we will offer the sailors a unique sailing environment and  some beautiful conditions for racing.”

The second stop on the Tour will again visit a new venue. The RC44 Class will debut in the debut of iconic Italian sailing haven of Puerto Cervo, as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda hosts sailing’s elite in the spectacular conditions of Porto Cervo

Continuing their tour of Europe, the RC44 Class will then go on to return to two venues that are firm favourites. The forth event of the season will be hosted for the fifth consecutive year on the Swedish Island of Marstrand, before the RC44 World Championship takes place in the dramatic rolling Atlantic swell of Cascais, Portugal.

To finish off the season, the fleet will then make their winter migration to Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands for the final event of the season in the turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea.

2014 – too close to call

The final event of this year’s Championship Tour takes place in Muscat, Oman from the 19 – 23 November. With only three points separating the top three teams, defending Tour champions Team Aqua are trying to ensure they hold off the challenges from Peninsula Petroleum and Bronenosec in the grand finale.

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RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] After four action packed days of match racing and fleet racing, near gale force winds and substantial breaking waves on the race course caused the concluding races of the 2014 RC44 Marstrand World Championship to be cancelled.

Principal Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio explained: “The wind was over our normal limit of 26-28 knots at 2-3m, so at the top of the rigs it would have been 28-30. We were anticipating it dying down, but unfortunately the sea state wouldn’t die with it. So ultimately it was down to the sea state. You know the seas are rough when you have to pick the waves you turn the power boat around in and with occasional 3-3.5m swells there is no way the committee boat would have held.”

After nine races Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team has been crowned the RC44 Marstrand World Champion, finishing six points clear of Nico Poons’ Charisma, in turn four points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua in third place.

“I am very happy,” said Liubomirov, who is Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia. “What is very symbolic for me is that my first experience with the RC44 was here in Marstrand one year ago. Michele (Ivaldi) was the coach for our team then, because we didn’t know this boat. This season he has become our tactician and I think this is really his victory, because he is our teacher, along with Cameron Dunn.”

This is Liubomirov’s second World Championship victory in as many weeks, coming to Sweden directly from winning the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds in Palma last week.

Italian Tactician Michele Ivaldi was especially satisfied with the result as this is his second consecutive RC44 World Championship title having won as tactician for Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF in 2013. “Coming out top on the podium was unexpected, but we worked hard for it and we had the tools to do it. For sure it is great success,” he said.

As to the secret of winning back to back World Championships, he confided: “It’s down to the group. We started with a good group and after the first regatta I suggested some changes, bringing some of the core trimmers from last year, people I have been sailing with for the last two years in the class.” Specifically this was mainsail trimmer Paul Westlake and jib trimmer Maciel Cicchetti. “They are the real engine of the boat. They make the boat so fast, and speed always makes a tactician look smart! So we had good starts all week and being fast upwind we could always make the first shift.”

With three races scheduled today mathematically nine teams still could have won the World title if racing had proceeded. Realistically the competition was down to the top six with 14 points separating Bronenosec from local host Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, up to sixth place after winning two of yesterday’s races.

34th America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby, tactician on Nico Poons’ second placed Charisma, felt that Peter Reggio had made the right call. “It is the sea state more than the wind. It is a shame because we were only six points away, plus we feel we are better in the strong conditions, so we were hoping to get out there. It’s disappointing because we finished on a bad race yesterday and we thought we had a chance to get it back today. Personally I wanted to win this one, but as a result for a new team – this is only our third regatta together – to beat Team Aqua and teams like that, who have been at it for a long time, is very good for Nico [Poons] and the team.”

Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin also felt cancelling correct, particularly remembering what had occurred in the marginally better conditions on the final day here last year: “Our boat was taking on water – we had to hide behind the island to bail water out! Today it is quite rough outside and I believe it is the owners’ opinion that it is better to stay safe. We have had an excellent regatta, nothing’s broken, no one has been injured and that is very important.”

Peter Reggio concluded: “We have got nine really fair races in and you really don’t want to screw that up. If they had gone out today it would have been survival. It would not have been racing.”

For Chris Bake, a third place finish at this World Championship, along with a discard coming in for the overall 2014 series, has put his Team Aqua back on top of the leaderboard, reclaiming the coveted ‘golden wheels’ from John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum.

The RC44 Championship continues with its final event of 2014, the RC44 Oman Cup in Muscat over 19-23 November.

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After nine races)

1. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
2. Charisma 4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua 2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika 1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
7. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86

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Artemis Racing advances in RC44 World Championship

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Local Swedish fans were rewarded on the penultimate day of the RC44 Marstrand World Championship when Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing dramatically improved its performance, following mid-fleet finishes over the last two days.

The shifty on-shore southwesterly today provided good racing, despite the wind rarely gusting over 16 knots.

In the first race Artemis Racing got the inside berth on Team Nika at the second weather mark, enabling her to pull into the lead and extend down the final run into the finish.

In winning the race, the Swedish team became this World Championship’s seventh individual winner in as many races, giving some indication as to the intense level of competition. However Torbjörn Törnqvist’s team bucked this trend, going on to make it two in a row, by claiming race two. This proved similar to the first race only with the Swedish team faster out of the start, again pulling into the lead at the second top mark rounding but then hanging on down to the finish line within the tight confines of Marstrand Fjord.

With a sixth place in today’s third and final race, Artemis Racing now lies sixth overall, but only five points adrift of the podium.

“The biggest different today was that we were all very focussed, we had great boat speed and no real issues on the boat – when you have that it is easier,” admitted Törnqvist. There were no changes made overnight, however Törnqvist felt he had steered better “and everything worked well on board in terms of the teamwork and the tactics. It was one of those days…”

In the moderate conditions, boat handling was vital, but going the right way was paramount and Artemis Racing tactician and triple Olympic medallist Iain Percy felt his team had had some lucky breaks. “In a fleet of this standard, if you get some breaks, any of the boats is good enough to win. And we got some breaks… We had really good starts in all three races and the shifts fell our way upwind and we also had some good pace: Put that all together and suddenly we were at the front!”

Current tour leaders John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum have struggled to find consistency in Sweden with results solely in either the top four or the bottom three. While lying second in race two today, an umpire call went against them, the result of an incident with Bronenosec prior to the second leeward mark rounding. Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto was thrown by this and in error made to call to gybe once they were into the Marstrand Fjord, a move that caused them ultimately to finish the race last.

However the Gibraltar-based team regrouped and came out firing on all cylinders to win the final race. “We have had a very inconsistent regatta so far,” observed Bassadone. “In three races we have scored 33 points and in six races we have scored 14 points. We have had a 10, 11, 12, which is just unacceptable, all from different things: One OCS, one issue on the boat, which happens, and then the penalty. At least we showed character in the way that we came back and won the last one.”

Conversely showing the greatest consistency has been Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec, which with a 6-4-2 today has taken the lead overall, six points ahead of Nico Poons’ new RC44 team, Charisma.

“It was a tough day for us, because the first race was not successful,” said Liubomirov. “In the second unfortunately we had the small incident with Peninsula and they got the penalty, but we lost two places. The last one was amazing, a good recovery after the first two.”

Tomorrow, three more races are scheduled and with a return to the big conditions of the first two days of this regatta and winds gusting into the mid-20s, there remains a lot of racing still to go in this RC44 World Championship. As John Bassadone put it: “Tomorrow is going to be very tough because there are a lot of very good boats – Bronenosec is on fire, there’s Charisma and Artemis Racing today has shown its true form today…”

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After nine races)

1. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
2. Charisma 4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua 2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika 1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
7. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86

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Bronenosec the star performer at RC44 World Championships

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Three more races were held today at the RC44 Marstrand World Championship with a further three teams claiming race wins. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua has now taken the overall lead, but is just one point ahead of today’s decisive winner, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team, in turn one ahead of the leader going into today’s racing, Dutch RC44 newbie Nico Poons and his Charisma team.

After two brisk days with strong, gusty winds from the SSW here off the Swedish west coast, there was a change in conditions for the second day of fleet racing with a lighter 10-13 knot northwesterly and a much reduced sea state.

St Petersburg Yacht Club fans were properly rewarded in the opening race, its two teams, scoring a 1-2. After a generally disappointing regatta to date, Kirill Podolsky’s Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge came out of the blocks strongly, just managed to edge into the lead at the top mark and then extended away around the rest of the race course. Finishing immediately behind Gazprom Youth was her team mate, Bronenosec. Picking up high scores in this first race were Peninsula Petroleum, Artemis Racing and Charisma, all of whom had started prematurely and had been forced to recross. Of the three, Charisma staged the best recovery, coming home eighth.

Vladimir Liubomirov’s sky blue RC44 continued the St Petersburg Yacht Club winning ways claiming race two, but it was a case of hero to zero for Gazprom Youth which was over the start line early, took too long to restart, ultimately finishing last.

Current fleet racing championship leader, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, started to show some of her expected form in today’s second race, coming home a worthy second to Bronenosec. The Gibraltar-based team then went on to claim victory in race three, with the race committee finishing the boats in Marstrand Fjord, next to the pretty village centre where the boats are moored.

Peninsula Petroleum’s 10-2-1 scoreline representing a trend to Bassadone’s liking: “I think we sailed a bit better today – we haven’t been sailing so well this week so far,” he admitted. “Not being over the line helps and we had a few other little things go wrong. Hopefully we are improving and will keep on improving.”

However the star performer was certainly Bronenosec with her 2-1-3. “We are strongest in the middle wind conditions like we had today, with little waves, but first of all I have a dream team,” said Vladimir Liubomirov, still kicking himself for the last race where his team had led around the leeward gate but subsequently dropped two places. “It was because probably we had two much tension after the first two races. Champions should be calm, more steady, but I am very happy today.” And he should know, having won the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship only last week.

Bronenosec’s Italian tactician Michele Ivaldi praised Liubomirov’s performance as well as the trimmers’. “The boat was going fast today. A couple of times we sheared off from everyone just in terms of pure boat speed and upwind in particular we were flying across the shifts.”

This regatta is, of course, a World Championship so there is more at stake than any other RC44 regatta. John Bassadone is hoping to repeat his victory two years ago. “Definitely the World Championship is the most important race on this circuit and everyone has upped the level for this. More boats are winning, so it is very tough, but good fun.”

However also intent on coming out on top is Chris Bake. His Team Aqua hasn’t won the World Championship since 2007. It is a Trophy he’d dearly like back: “Winning would be special – it would it would round out an otherwise good season.”

Despite leading overall Team Aqua hasn’t won a race over the last two days and Bake acknowledges that his team’s performance is down to ‘not having mucked any one race up too badly’. “That was the story of today – staying out of trouble and when we were in trouble, we were able to dig our way out.”

Also hoping to make a late charge is Artemis Racing’s Torbjörn Törnqvist, currently lying sixth overall. As the Swedish entry, Törnqvist is effectively the regatta’s host and is pleased that this World Championship is taking place in Marstrand. “It is great that we do it here. It is a nice place. I was just hoping to do a little bit better than we have done so far. It is nothing specific, just small things. We try to work on it.”

Törnqvist has the added challenge this week of only being able to steer his boat with his right hand, as he is recovering from an operation on his left arm, which he is not allowed to use.

Racing continues tomorrow with the first warning signal at 11.30 local time, follow the racing live via the race blog and tracking at www.rc44.com
RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking

(After six races)

1. Team Aqua
2 4 5 3 5 4 – 23
2. Bronenosec Sailing Team
6 9 3 2 1 3 – 24
3. Charisma
4 2 2 8 7 2 – 25
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team
3 11 4 10 2 1 – 31
5. Team Nika
1 3 8 5 6 11 – 34
6. Artemis Racing
9 5 6 6 9 7 – 42
7. Bombarda Racing
7 8 10 9 4 5 – 43
8. Katusha
13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 – 44
9. Artemis Racing Youth
11 6 7 4 10 6 – 44
10. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge
5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 – 52
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team
8 1 9 12 11 12 – 53
12. MAG Racing
10 10 12 7 8 8 – 55

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Early lead for Charisma at RC44 World Championship

Posted on 14 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Fleet racing at the RC44 Marstrand World Championship got underway today in lively conditions, delivering a mix of sun with occasional torrential rain, strong winds with occasional lulls, plus, in race three, a giant squall.

Today’s three races have left RC44 newcomers, Nico Poons’ Charisma three points clear of class veteran Chris Bake and his Team Aqua’s 11 points, in turn a point ahead of Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. These three boats now hold a small advantage over the chasing pack.

Proving that consistency, rather than simply coming first, is what pays in fleet racing, neither Charisma nor Team Aqua won a race today, but their 4-2-2 and 2-4-5 scorelines were enough to leave them a cut above the rest. Charisma’s race two result was particularly impressive given she was over early and had to restart.

Despite holding first place, Nico Poons was not resting on his laurels: “Leading after the first day doesn’t mean anything. We have no drops so until the last finish of the last race it can go anywhere.”

Today’s first race saw Team Nika continue her unbeaten run from yesterday when she emerged as the top boat in the match racing held off the Swedish island hosting this event.

In race two it was the turn of Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team. According to the team’s tactician, America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird, they had headed right out of the start and then played the shifts up the first beat, nosing ahead of Team Aqua and Team Nika at the weather mark, from where they led for the remainder of the race.

Despite the onshore breeze, today it was all about playing the shifts correctly, explained Baird: “Typically you think one side is better and today it was less that way than normal. There seemed to be these long shifts that you needed to be on the correct side of rather than just going to one side of the race course.”

The surprise performance of the day came in the third race when Katusha managed to claim her first win of the season. Co-owners Vladimir Sokolov and Robert Filimonov only acquired the boat this year and the RC44 is the first yacht racing they have ever done. The owners alternate steering and can still count the number of days they have raced on their hands. Today it was Sokolov’s turn: “This is our first win, so I am very happy, it is a great feeling,” he said. “We have been close a few times, but we’ve never managed a win. I am learning a lot, but I have a great teacher in Andy Horton, who is our captain and my tutor since my first regatta. It is because of him that this happened.”

Race three was by far the most dramatic of the day with a giant rain cloud encroaching on the right side of the course bringing with it gusts of up to 26 knots and a 50 degree right hand wind shift.

As Katusha’s tactician, America’s Cup and Olympic Star sailor Andy Horton explained: “We went for the cloud and had a good couple of moments on port and were able to lead the boats to the right of us. We got around the weather mark ahead and we lost a boat on the run, but we went around the leeward mark in a huge right shift and were the first boat to tack. Then when the breeze came back about 30 degrees after the cloud moved out of the way that sprung us pretty good.”

Generally today’s conditions made for great sailing. As Team Aqua’s Chris Bake explained: “It felt really variable – when the gusts came through they were interesting. All in all it was great conditions and great racing, the fleet is really tight and you can see that coming around the marks when things get very exciting. It is good to get out there and good to be pushed.”

Watching the action today was Sweden’s most famous racing sailor, yacht designer and former America’s Cup helmsman, Pelle Petterson, whose daughter’s company Pelle P is official clothing supplier to the RC44 class. “The RC44s are nice boats to watch and they do so well in these conditions,” he said. “It is amazing, they can keep full sail. Today it was very bumpy and was a really good test for the crew and the boats.”

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After three races)
1. Charisma 4 2 2 – 8
2. Team Aqua 2 4 5 – 11
3. Team Nika 1 3 8 – 12
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 – 18
5. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 – 18
6. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 – 18
7. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 – 20
8. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 – 21
9. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 – 24
10. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 – 25
11. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 – 29
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 – 32

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The onboard selfie

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Sailing is and will, most probably, always stay a niche sport. Despite the claims to the contrary and the big, ambitious plans presented at the beginning of every America’s Cup or Volvo Ocean Race cycle, bringing sailing to the coffee-shop crowd is something that has eluded all self-proclaimed prophets.

However, there is an aspect in sailing that no other sport can beat: the onboard experience. In the big, stadium sports, spectators are seated tens of meters away from the field. At best, if you are lucky enough or a famous Hollywood celebrity you can get a front-row seat at the LA Lakers game, a few feet from the line. Nevertheless, nothing comes even close to the thrill of spending one hour onboard one of the racing yachts, rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best sailors, right in the middle of the action.

Where else can you take such a selfie? Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

The vast majority of guests have absolutely no clue about sailing and for most of them it is the first time they go onboard a sailing yacht. However, they all have one thing in common. They all come back ashore with a big smile on their face. Even when conditions take them out of the comfort zone, guests are thrilled by the experience.

Apparently, the guest on Mag Racing, in the second day of the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup final day, was having a fabulous time as she spent nearly the entire first beat taking selfies, constantly changing position to get the perfect shot. She might not even remember the names of the Polish crew, she most probably doesn’t care about the result Mag Racing got in that particular race but she will never forget those selfies.

Although it’s true the RC44′s aren’t the most comfortable boats to be a guest, being inside a professional top-notch team isn’t an opportunity to let by. Even when conditions got really brisk later on with 22 knots of breeze and Peter Reggio became a bit worried about safety, the worst incident happy guests had to report was getting some of their clothing wet by the splash.

The RC44 class probably has the most active and efficient onboard guest program we have seen among the major international circuits. With 11 to 15 boats in every regatta and three races a day, the RC44 class has dozens of onboard guest during one event and all this is organized by just one person, Logistics Manager Hubert Detrey, with the help of a couple of ribs and drivers provided each time by local organizers!

Isn’t it a pity though that the advent of fast, foiling catamarans in the America’s Cup has stripped sailing’s pinnacle event from this superb marketing tool?

Where else can you take such a selfie? Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

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Bronenosec wins RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup

Posted on 30 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Despite a slow start on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first edition of the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup finished on a high note, not only because of the great conditions that prevailed during the weekend but also thanks to the very close racing that took place. Sotogrande lived up to its promise and seven races took place on Saturday and Sunday under sunshine, relatively flat seas and a brisk, but very shifty, westerly breeze between 10 and 20 knots. Racing was so close and intense that going into the final race, two teams, Bronenosec and Peninsula Petroleum, were tied at the top of the overall leaderboard and another two, Gazprom Youth Challenge and Synergy, had a credible shot at the trophy. In fact, it wasn’t until the last run that Bronenosec got ahead of Peninsula Petroleum and Gazprom Youth Challenge in order to secure the third event of the 2014 RC44 Championship Tour.

The Gazprom-sponsored boat that flies the colors of the Saint-Petersburg Yacht Club wasn’t the one that scored the most victories but, undoubtedly, the most consistent. Torbjörn Törqnvist’s Artemis might get the bragging rights with three victories in 11 races but with 45 points, Bronenosec had an average score of fourth, an impressive feat in a strong fleet of eleven boats.

According to Michele Ivaldi, tactician onboard Bronenosec, the key this week was “to keep focused on the long term, never forgetting it was going to be a long regatta. With such a shifty breeze there would always be a lot of opportunities to recover positions. We always tried to be careful, to limit any potential damages and in the first weather mark we were always fifth or sixth. That was a tactical decision because we didn’t want to take extreme options to be ahead. If we rounded the marks in fifth or sixth place we knew we would have strong tactical options.

“In what regards the eleven races, our objective every day was to finish on average fourth or fifth. In fact our worst scores were two sixths. The positive aspect is that we always managed to climb back.

“Today, there wasn’t any favorable side on the course. Wind could change in direction by 30-35 degrees while pressure would fluctuate from 8 to 22 knots. The key was to stay in phase with the shifts and look ahead 500 meters, trying to decipher what was going to take place. You had to be patient, very patient.

“I joined the team in Cascais and this is my second regatta with them. We have two Russians onboard in this event, because the owner Vladimir Liubomirov is currently in Saint Petersburg, and their progress has been noticeable. I think that Vladimir’s idea to build a project that promotes young Russian sailors is proving to be successful. Gazprom Youth Challenge also had a very good final day and their progress is remarkable as well. We hold our meetings and debriefs together and I can clearly see their increasing professionalism.

“Our crew is a mixture of Russian, English, Italian and Spanish, and our helmsman was Slovenian this week, but communication isn’t a problem onboard. We, obviously, communicate in English but we try to have a Latin character in the team.”

Despite losing the opportunity to win an event on their home waters, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum are holding on to their overall leadership of the season as Chris Bake’s Team Aqua had a disappointing week, finishing sixth.

RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup 2014 – Final Overall Results after 11 races
1. Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 6 5 3 3 5 1 5 6 4 4 3 – - – - 45
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13) 8 2 2 6 7 5 9 2 5 1 1 – - – - 48
3. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 1 3 5 11 1 4 2 4 6 5 6 – - – - 48
4. GAZPROM Youth Sailing Challenge (RUS7) 5 1 8 10 2 9 3 1 3 2 9 – - – - 53
5. Artemis Racing (SWE44) 9 7 1 4 6 3 1 9 1 11 5 – - – - 57
6. Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 3 9 6 2 8 6 8 3 8 8 4 – - – - 65
7. Aleph Racing (FRA17) 2 4 11 7 3 8 10 10 2 3 8 – - – - 68
8. Charisma (MON 69) 10 6 7 8 4 7 6 5 9 6 2 – - – - 70
9. Team Nika (RUS 10) 4 10 9 1 11 2 7 7 7 7 7 – - – - 72
10. Katusha (RUS 007) 7 8 4 5 9 10 4 8 11 9 11 – - – - 86
11. MAG Racing (POL44) 11 11 10 9 10 12ocs 11 11 10 10 10 – - – - 115

Race 2
The day’s second race got underway in what was probably the strongest and most exciting conditions of week. The fresh breeze, blowing between 18 and 22 knots provided spectacular racing that saw Gazprom Youth Sailing and Synergy take the early lead. Peninsula Petroleum had another disappointing race as their strategy for the left-hand side of the course in the first beat proved disastrous. They were forced to duck the entire fleet at the first weather mark and round in 10th place. They managed to recover five place and finish fifth but Bronenosec had already crossed the line ahead of the British-Spanish boat. With Synergy overtaking Gazprom Youth Challenge in the last stretch of the final run, the podium became wide open.

Start of the day’s second race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

What other sport gives you the opportunity to take a “selfie” right next to the athletes? Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

At the approach to the first weather mark, Peninsula Petroleum will have to duck the fleet and round 10th. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Gazprom Youth Challenge leading the fleet in the first run. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Synergy surging ahead in the first run. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Aleph surging ahead in the first run. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Bronenosec surging ahead in the first run. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Charisma surging ahead in the first run. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Both Peninsula Petroleum and Team Aqua had an average race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Gazprom Youth Challenge leads the race in the second upwind leg. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Synergy goes on to score their first victory of the day while Bronenosec ties with Peninsula Petroleum. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Race 3
With Peninsula Petroleum and Bronenosec tied at 42 points and Gazprom Youth Challenge lurking just two points behind them, the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup podium was wide open when the day’s, and event’s last race started. All three teams had nearly equal chances in clinching the title and in fact, the winner was only decided in the last run. Synergy scored a commanding victory, leading from start to finish but it was, once again, Bronenosec’s ability to weave through the fleet and climb back that gave them the overall victory. Gazprom Youth Challenge had a very good first beat, rounded the first weather mark in third place, managing to put a sufficient number of boats between them and Bronenosec and Peninsula Petroleum that would guarantee their overall victory. However, Bronenosec, again, stayed in phase with the shifts and by the bottom gate they were ahead of Gazprom Youth Challenge and Peninsula Petroleum. They held on to their advantage, crossing the finish third and claiming the trophy.

Start of the day’s last race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Synergy in the first beat of the last race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

The fleet in the first beat of the last race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Synergy leads the fleet at the first weather mark. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Gazprom Youth Challenge rounds the first weather mark in third place and becomes the virtual regatta winner. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Peninsula Petroleum and Bronenosec round the first weather mark. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Team Aqua sailing the first run. Chiris Bake’s team had a disappointing week. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

At the bottom gate, Bronenosec was ahead of both Gazprom Youth Challenge and Peninsula Petroleum. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

In the final run, Synergy was leading and Bronenosec was third, comfortably ahead of Peninsula Petroleum and Gazprom Youth Challenge. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Synergy sailing into victory in the final race of the event. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Nika sailing in the last run of the race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Nika sailing in the last run of the race. Sotogrande, 29 June 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

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Video Highlights – Day of 2 Fleet Racing – RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup

Posted on 28 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Watch the highlights from day two of fleet racing at the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup including an interview with Andy Horton (USA)

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